Is Your Rooftop a Usable Space?

Today’s facility occupants need environments that match the way they work and the way they play. But is that space your facility’s roof?

A usable rooftop might be the perfect investment for your facility.

Benefits

Usable rooftops can draw would-be employees to your business. Employees also benefit from a place where they can blow off steam and get a breath of fresh air.

As cities become more and more crowded, space is at a premium. A usable rooftop may be a costly addition to your facility, but can improve employee morale and job satisfaction.

Sustainability

Rooftop spaces can also make your facility more sustainable. You can add a rain-collecting reservoir to supplement your facility’s water system or add solar panels to make the building more energy efficient and lower its utility costs.

A Roof with a View

If you plan to shell out the money for a usable roof, you want to make sure the view isn’t terrible when it’s done. What do the surroundings of your facility look like? If the view isn’t very attractive, you lose out on a lot of the benefits of the space in the first place. Make sure the roof is worth the view your occupants will have.

Load Capacity

A retrofitted roof is definitely not a perfect fit for all facilities. Structural concerns should also be addressed. Adding a usable roof adds a lot of weight to the top of a building, and many facility roofs were not designed for people to walk on them. So make sure you have a structural engineer, construction expert, or architectural firm survey your roof before you start the process.

Tips for Improving Facility Cybersecurity

Recent developments in the Internet of Things are making facilities easier to operate and manage than ever before. But these powerful technologies also expose facilities and their internal networks to cybersecurity attacks that can wreak real havoc to facility systems and expose sensitive data.

Improve your facility’s cybersecurity defenses with these tips:

Keep Everyone in the Loop

IT usually takes care of a facility’s cybersecurity plan, but Internet of Things devices may also be the responsibility of facility managers.

That’s why it’s a good idea to consult with your IT department when planning future Internet of Things upgrades. This way, you can ensure the products you purchase have the most-recent security features built into them.

Know the Risks

Facility managers need to find the weak points where hackers could break into facility networks and infect it with malware or even destroy or steal sensitive data.

Luckily, most IT workers are experienced at finding system weaknesses, but if you don’t bring them into the conversation, they will not be able to advise you on the best security strategies.

Mobile Device Action Plan

Mobile devices can present a major security challenge for facility managers and IT staff. That’s why it’s a good idea to require staff to password-protect all of their devices, encrypt their data, and install security apps to keep criminals out and sensitive data protected.

Backup Data

We also suggest frequently backing up the data on all facility computers, but especially the ones holding your most sensitive data.

Want to know more about security your facility? Call the experts at MaintenX today!

UV Benefits When Cleaning Coils

Ultraviolet (UV) light is commonly used to sterilize HVAC systems. UV destroys bacteria, mold, and other contaminants often found in these systems. Cleaning your building’s HVAC system is not only beneficial to the health of your occupants, but it keeps the system running smoothly.

UV may be applied to a system’s drain pipes or ducts, but another excellent use of UV is for cleaning the cooling coils.

How UV Works on Coils

Cooling coils are a central part of an HVAC system. When contaminants build up, pressure drops and the building’s temperature rises.

Cleaning these coils is necessary to restore your system to optimal function, but the process of cleaning is normally a hassle. Traditional cleaning methods may involve pressure washing, which is not only time-consuming but may not destroy all contaminants.

When a UV light is installed in an HVAC system, it enters through the air handler and moves throughout the system. When it reaches the cooling coils, it quickly destroys contaminants like mold and bacteria. This is much easier, and much more efficient, than pressure washing your coils.

The Downsides to UV Systems

While UV is an excellent tool for keeping your HVAC system clean and operational, it’s not without its downsides. Be aware of these as you consider installing a UV system:

  • Upfront costs. UV lights aren’t usually expensive, but there are additional costs, such as installation and bulb replacement. However, they save on time and energy, and there are do-it-yourself options for installation.
  • Limitations. While UV light is highly effective at killing some contaminants, such as bacteria and mold, it’s not a replacement for filters.
  • Radiation. Ultraviolet radiation is dangerous to humans, so UV lights should be turned off while they’re being cleaned. However, you won’t be exposed to radiation on a regular basis with UV systems.

The Bottom Line

There are pros and cons to every system, and UV is no exception, but the benefits certainly seem to outweigh the problems. UV systems can save you a lot of time and energy.

Energy Saving VRF Systems

Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) is an energy-efficient HVAC system that is growing in popularity around the world. It’s not a new technology, but it only recently entered the U.S. markets. Japan has been using it since the 1980s, and it’s a popular choice in many other parts of the world.

What VRF Systems Do

While conventional HVAC systems deliver a consistent amount of refrigerant, VRF systems can use a different amount for each evaporator. This lets you adjust the temperature for each part of the building, using a single HVAC system. With some VRF systems, you can even heat and cool different parts of a building.

There are currently four kinds of VRF systems:

  • Cooling-only systems
  • Heat pump systems, which can be used for both cooling and heating, but not at the same time
  • Heat recovery systems that can heat and cool simultaneously.
  • Water source systems have the features of other VRF systems. However, they are more efficient than air source systems because water carries heat more efficiently.

Is VRF the right choice?

VRF can cut energy costs by as much as a third. This makes them environmentally friendly as well as cost-efficient for many people. If your company is trying to get a green building certification, a VRF system may help you achieve that.

The upfront cost of VRF may explain why some people are slow to adopt it. A VRF system can cost twice as much as a DX system, and sometimes more. However, the energy savings can often quickly make up for the initial costs.

VRF systems are most popular for small buildings, but they can also be a smart choice for larger buildings with variable heating and cooling needs. Take into account your own building’s needs, and you’ll know if VRF is right for you.

Predictive Maintenance Tips to Keep in Mind

The world of facility management is a fast-changing one. For example, many facility managers are now beginning to move from preventive maintenance to a predictive maintenance model. New and powerful software, sensor technology, and an expanding Internet of Things (IoT) have all led to new ways to precisely monitor facility metrics at an affordable price.

Below are some of the new technologies used in predictive maintenance:

Power System Assessment

Power System Assessments are done by licensed electrical engineers. They involve visual inspections of a facility’s power system. Flaws, corrosion, hazards, or system weaknesses are identified so facility managers can deal with these issues before they cause a problem.

Online Temperature Monitoring

Online Temperature Monitoring gives facility managers 24/7 access to critical systems. It evaluates the current condition of facility assets and can even detect problematic irregularities before they get out of hand.

Circuit Monitor Analysis

Circuit monitors record relevant voltage and power data. They help facility managers recognize where hazardous sags and swells occur in the system.

Intelligent Protective Devices

Monitoring of circuit breakers provides facility managers with accurate, real-time data, such as:

  • Identification and position
  • Number of operations
  • Cumulative interrupted currents
  • Operating times
  • Charging time
  • Travel-time curve
  • Excess closing energy
  • Wear of contacts

Motor control centers can be checked for:

  • Motor current and power
  • Thermal capacity
  • Line currents
  • Average current
  • Ground current
  • Motor temperature
  • Current phase imbalance
  • Voltage frequency
  • Line to line voltage
  • Line voltage imbalance

To learn more about maintenance solutions, call MaintenX today!

Longest-Lasting Facility Flooring

While durability is always a factor when choosing a flooring material for your facility, it’s an absolute must for high-traffic areas. Below are some of the most durable facility flooring materials:

Terrazzo

Terrazzo is durable and relatively inexpensive, but it’s high in upfront costs. This material is best-suited for large, high-traffic areas where aesthetics are also a factor, such as transit hubs.

Quarry Tile

Quarry tile is the go-to option for commercial kitchens because it’s easy to clean and grease doesn’t stick to it. Quarry tile will have a long life if it’s installed correctly and is well-maintained.

Inexpensive and sturdy, quarry tile is a great low-cost option for kitchen and some construction floor applications.

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)

Generally speaking, LVT isn’t well-suited for industrial or commercial kitchen environments. It can, however, handle a lot of foot traffic, scrapes, scratches, scuffs and spills. This is why it’s a good option for offices, hospitals and schools.

Epoxy

Epoxy flooring is designed for durability—IF properly installed. If putting it over concrete, the surface of the floor should be thoroughly cleaned and ensuring that all cracks are patched with urethane before applying the epoxy coating. If these steps aren’t taken before applying the epoxy, it is much more likely to peel or chip early. Epoxy’s maintenance needs include daily sweeping and occasional deep cleanings. These small measures should help keep your epoxy flooring looking like new for years to come.

Want to know more about facility flooring options? Call MaintenX today!

What is Water Autonomy?

Today’s green-savvy customers look for companies who take steps to be more climate-friendly. Taking such steps doesn’t just improve your brand’s public image, it can also become a positive part of companies’ internal culture while cutting costs.

By doing more with less, facilities that use greener alternatives to everything from their lighting to their energy sources create a healthier and happier environment for workers.

Below are a few methods to lower your facility’s environmental impact while saving you money.

Composting

Facilities today have the ability to reuse, recycle, or compost almost all solid waste they generate. Despite this fact, much of the food we throw out ends up in landfills. Composting programs encourage workers to put food waste into compost bins located throughout their facility. Composting can help your facility save money, increase employee happiness, and send a positive message to customers.

Sustainability

Many of today’s facilities have equipped themselves with smart technology. Smart technology allows facility managers to augment individual rooms’ temperatures and lighting individually. Other smart tech like digital restroom dispensers can provide real-time information about dispenser refill levels while informing cleaning staff of when and where they should service or refill them.

Taking small steps like these can help your company get a little greener without breaking the bank. By educating your staff about the importance of waste reduction while striving to lower your facility’s environmental impact, you can help create a more sustainable and brighter future.

Health Risks with 3D Printers

These days, it seems as if anything and everything can be printed on a 3-D printer. The applications of this technology are indeed mind-boggling. 3D printing seems to be the future of making things, from artificial organs to guns to miniature versions of famous sculptures. 3-D printing is poised to change the way we look at the world, medicine, art, and ourselves, and it’s becoming increasingly affordable. You can now print things at home in your spare time with a couple hundred dollars and a little bit of computer programming know-how. But what are the potential risks involved? Read on to find out. 

Plastic Worries

3D printers work by melting plastic “beads” or “threads” and then compounding tiny layers of material to form whatever object is to be created. The two main components used today are acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and polylactic acid (PLA).

Experiments conducted with these materials have found:

  • Some 3-D printers can create high levels of known carcinogens
  • ABS filaments produce possibly dangerous particulate emissions
  • Possibly dangerous emissions have been found in both ABS and PLA devices
  • Over time, emissions increase with both materials, as the printing devices age

Safety First

These finding could be enough to cause you to worry about continued usage of your 3D printer. But a few possible precautions may be helpful in avoiding harmful consequences:

  • Place 3D printers in a well-ventilated space to reduce exposure to particle emissions
  • Select 3D printers with built-in ventilation systems.

This is a new and developing technology. If you are interested or currently using 3-D printers, make sure you stay updated on new research as it develops to make sure you use this powerful technology in the safest way possible.

How to Make Your Roof Last Longer

Roofing systems have limited lifespans which vary depending on climate, exposure to the elements, build type, and installation method. Regardless, however, all roofs need regular inspections and routine maintenance to ensure a long, healthy life. Appropriate care and maintenance can prolong the life of a roof for years to come. 

Know the Basics

It is essential to understand that your facility’s roof is made up of more than just shingles. Your facility’s roof includes many working parts, including mechanical and electrical equipment, roof drainage equipment, and rooftop communication equipment, just to mention a few components.

Collect Data

Good roof management begins with taking an inventory of the current state of the roof. Firstly, you should know the number, size, age, and maintenance history of the roof.

Collect the following data:

  • Contractor and manufacturer warranty information
  • Maintenance and repair data
  • Changes or upgrades
  • Records of work performed

Facility Management Software

Facility management software programs that store and update this information will be very helpful. These specialized software systems allow you to track the complete cost of managing and maintaining your roof and other maintenance task over time. Many large facilities have multiple roof sections of many sizes, types, and ages. Different roof construction projects with varying levels of warranty and materials can become confusing and overly complicated over time without proper record keeping.

Want to know more about making the best of your roof’s life? Call the experts at MaintenX today!

The Dangers of Mold in Your Building

Mold has always presented a problem for facility managers; fueling this concern is the increasing fear that facilities are breeding grounds for what has been called “toxic mold”. Despite the hype, though, researchers have found slim evidence that links mold found in facilities to human harm.

That being said, mold in your facility should not be taken lightly. Molds can cause allergic reactions and respiratory illness that can quickly become serious and lead to long-term problems. The existence of mold can even create structural problems in your facility that, if unaddressed, can create even costlier problems.

The Hype

It’s understandable that people are fearful of mold. After all, some types of mold can cause serious illnesses. Despite the stories going around the water cooler, however, indoor air quality isn’t much affected by most common strains of mold found in buildings.

That doesn’t, however, mean that mold is nothing to worry about. Mold can cause respiratory conditions like asthma, for example, which has received scrutiny because of the increasing incidence of the condition in children across the country. There is no consensus as to the cause, but long-term exposure to mold could make a person more sensitive to mold and other allergens.

No matter what the cause, you should have a licensed professional survey your facilities in the case of mold damage.

Want to know more about mold and its effects? Contact the maintenance experts at MaintenX today!